Jim Corbett, in his incomparable Man-Eaters of Kamaon, offers some sage advice: ‘When you go out looking for a lion, be quite sure that you want to see him.’
Should one be lucky enough to cadge an invitation to Sweden (or thereabouts) to get a shot at a moose this winter, a something similar applies.
The season starts on the 12th October and over the course of a few weeks some 90,000 beasts with be dispatched to the Great Perhaps. The sport has a quasi-religious status in Sweden, and is as popular today as it has ever been.
One can go out with a guide and a dog: the dog will roam far an wide in its search for one’s prey and, when it finds one, will bark at it incessantly while you – perhaps cursing your fitness but thanking the good Lord above for your superb clothing - huff and puff and try to get within range.
On the other hand, one might be offered driven moose.
More people, more dogs and a lot less huffing and puffing. However, before one gets too enthusiastic and turns one’s attention to what one want to find in one’s flask on a cold continental afternoon whilst one waits around for the dogs to do the hard work, we would ask that one bears in mind that a bull moose can be over 2 metres tall and weigh 850 kilograms.
‘Well, what of it?’ one might ask.
Well, in old money that’s nearly seven feet at the shoulder and 130 stones, and there’s a decent chance it’s going to arrive like a train out of a tunnel, at full speed, and in temper unlike anything one has seen since, at the age of 12, one sloshed a cricket ball through one’s Guv’nor’s dressing-room window.
Of course, there’s also a chance that something the size and weight of a bank safe isn’t going to come hurtling out of a hedge at 35 miles per hour, in which case one won’t be standing there, one’s sloe gin in the snow, wondering where the hell the safety catch is.
All we’re really asking is that our superbly outfitted customers ensure that, when they go out looking for a moose, they are quite sure they want to see him.